Minnesota United v Houston Dynamo
The first match to kick off in the MLS on Saturday evening does so at Allianz Field as two Western Conference sides go at it when Minnesota United welcome the Houston Dynamo to Minneapolis.
The Loons head into this one nicely placed in the top seven in the West but there is a real advantage to finishing in the top four as you get a home match to kick start the postseason. Minnesota began the weekend in fourth place so will be looking for a win here to consolidate that position.
They look to have a good opponent to pick that win up against as the Dynamo are playing for relatively little and have an away record that is ordinary at best but in truth very poor. They have 10 points from 13 away matches and making the top seven is already a pipedream for them.
Minnesota have risen to fourth spot courtesy of a run of one loss in 10 matches, which away to Colorado Rapids wasn’t exactly a disaster of a result. They have won seven of those outings and in Franco Fragapane they have a man in excellent form.
He has netted four goals in his last five games which is really taking Minnesota up the table. All of a sudden only the top two and free scoring Portland have scored more goals than Minnesota this term and with Houston the second lowest scorers in the division on their travels this looks a good opportunity for a home win.
Minnesota won 2-1 in Houston last month and with their confidence high they can repeat that result with another victory here.
FC Cincinnati v Columbus Crew
We have a huge Ohio derby to enjoy in the early hours of Sunday morning when FC Cincinnati play host to their rivals Columbus Crew in what is a huge match for both sides in their quest to extend their season.
Having invested heavily in Cucho Hernandez, anything but a top seven finish for the Crew has to be deemed as a failure this term. They go into the match in seventh place in the table but they are only a point ahead of Cincinnati who are in ninth, so should the visitors lose this they will drop out of the play-off zone. With a bunch of sides queuing up behind the Crew this is a game they dare not lose but need to win.
The same situation applies for FC Cincinnati, although they are in the slightly better position of anything that happens from here on in this term will be progress for the Blue and Orange after three absolutely dismal MLS campaigns.
That said, with a vibrant and high quality front three which Cincinnati have at their disposal, they should be looking to finish in the top seven. They have been in that zone for the majority of the season but a run of just two wins in 12 has seen them slide down the table even though they have only lost one game in that time.
Columbus head across Ohio with just one loss in 13 matches and unbeaten in their last six and even when they don’t play well like last week, Cucho has the class to pop up and get them a result.
Given how many matches these two draw I don’t think it is wise to rely on either to come out with a win here but FC Cincinnati don’t really do clean sheets having kept just one in their last 15 games. They’ve only been shut out once in that time too though and so with the attacking talent on the pitch both teams to score looks a good bet in a match neither can afford to lose.
Sporting Kansas City v San Jose Earthquakes
Two of the bottom three in the Western Conference collide in one of the matches in the early hours of Sunday morning this week when Sporting Kansas City welcome the San Jose Earthquakes to Children’s Mercy Park.
Kansas City head into this match bottom of the table but they should have their confidence restored a little after an emphatic 4-1 win over the Portland Timbers last weekend, their second win in three matches as players begin to return and an attacking threat begins to present itself once again.
That threat largely comes in the form of new signings William Agada and Erik Thommy. Between them they have seven goals in their opening eight starts combined so they are quite the threat for a side who have been diminished by attacking injuries all season.
SKC aren’t the only team going into this match with a confidence boost though. Sam Jose Earthquakes achieved what many were beginning to think wasn’t possible in MLS anymore in beating Los Angeles FC last weekend and that shows the ability they have in their ranks.
Kansas City have scored four goals in each of their two recent wins and notched three times in the defeat in between those victories so they have caught fire in front of goal but they still leaked seven times in those three games.
Only DC United have conceded more goals than these two in the entire MLS and with no competitive pressure on this one with both teams out of play-off contention, I think we will be treated to a high scoring encounter here.
Written by an Andy verified content writer
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